|Here we go again. Pantani and the trash talking.||Sintesi|
Feb 11, 2002 11:09 AM
|I thought these guys buried the hatchet and decided to be friends? Is Velonews misquoting the Pirate?
DOZZA IMOLESE, Italy, Feb 9 (AFP) - Italy's most controversial rider Marco Pantani on Saturday launched a bitter personal attack on American arch-rival Lance Armstrong as his Mercatone Uno team was unveiled for the new season.
Pantani, who in 1998 won both the Giro d'Italia and Tour of France but has been implicated since in a series of doping-related scandals, could not resist the opportunity to lambast the Texan who has won the last three Tours. "It is a bit like an endless comic strip," said Pantani. "A typical American story. And I call him the American. I have known him for some time - after his illness (battle with testicular cancer) he came and asked if he could join my team. "I admired him a lot before his illness, afterwards less. I find it hard to believe in fairytales. "He has an entirely different way of distancing himself from problems and relations with others that is the opposite of my character. "I don't phone (Tour organiser Jean-Marie) Leblanc or (International Cycling Union (UCI) president Hein) Verbruggen. I am different. "Yes, Armstrong is a phenomenon of world cycling. But he does not respect his opponents and now I say he is a great rider but not a great champion."
Asked if he could still beat Armstrong Pantani referred to his stage victory in the 2000 Tour on the summit of Mont Ventoux when he pipped the American - although it looked to most observers as if Armstrong let him win. "I had him at the Tour a couple of years ago and I think I can do it again," said the rider whose shaven head, earrings and bandanas have earned him the nickname 'il pirata' (the pirate). "I would like to see a contest between a fit Armstrong and a fit Pantani."
Armstrong recently further snubbed Pantani by saying he feared the Saeco's team newly-acquired Gilberto Simoni, the Giro d'Italia champion, as his principal rival for this year.
Also at Saeco is Giuseppe Martinelli, the team director who had guided Pantani throughout his professional career until a bitter fall-out last autumn.
But Pantani insisted he could return after another year blighted with injury, legal affairs and other problems and the loss of chief lieutenant Stefano Garzelli who defected to the Mapei outfit in the winter of 2000. "My objective is to simply return to a competitive level, to begin to do this job without thinking of other things," he said.
Before Christmas Pantani had a three-month suspended prison term for doping thrown out of court on a technicality, although the judges made it clear they felt he had cheated. He is also involved in other ongoing cases.
Mercatone Uno team (Italian unless stated) Simone Borgheresi, Ermanno Brignoli, Massimo Cigana, Daniel Clavero (Spa), Luca De Angeli, Fabiano Fontanelli, Riccardo Forconi, Gian Mario Ortenzi, Marco Pantani, Roberto Savoldi, Marcello Siboni
New signings: Marco Della Vedova, Marco Fincato, Valentino Fois, Luca Mazzanti, Massimiliano Mori, Francesco Secchiari, Roberto Sgambelluri, Pablo Soler (Spa)
|Well, the WWF this ain't.||brider|
Feb 11, 2002 12:40 PM
|It's amazing that this stuff still goes on. I'd say that Pantani isn't the great champion of days gone by either, if he follows the example of Merckx, etc. They never trashed an opponent. THey may have said they'd crush an entire field, but I never heard of them thrashing a particular opponent. Bu tin the end, these guys get paid to ride their bikes and get their sponsor's names in the news. Well, he's done that. There's that old saw about there's no such thing as bad press...|
|Let the facts speak for themselves||McAndrus|
Feb 12, 2002 5:11 AM
Lance TdFs 3
Pantani TdFs 1
Pantani Giros 1
Lance Giros 0
Lance TdF stages 10
Pantani TdF stages 8
Lance talks with his legs. I suspect Marco knows he's on the downside of his career and is desperate to get an invitation for Mercatoni Uno to the 02 Tour. I think Simoni is doing the same thing, by the way, talking serious trash so that Saeco will get an invitation as well.
|ho hum...||Duane Gran|
Feb 14, 2002 9:44 AM
| "I would like to see a contest between a fit Armstrong and a fit Pantani."
Yes, we would all like that, but I suspect we will have to settle for a fit Armstrong. I like Pantani very much, but hasn't been on form for a while. It was almost depressing watching the Giro last year, as his team huddled around him off the back of the climbs. That isn't to say he can't be better, but I would bet my last dollar on Armstrong.